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Oct 30, 2021

Make-Ahead White Whole Wheat Poppyseed Buns

These white whole wheat poppyseed buns are the perfect dinner roll to grace your holiday table. 

Dinner rolls in a basket with a plated roll in front.

I first made these white whole wheat poppyseed buns for Thanksgiving dinner. While I'm an avid bread baker, this was the first time I actually served bread fresh out of the oven for a dinner party while juggling a main course, sides, and all of the other things that go into preparing for company. 

Before I started to make my own bread, I used to make rolls that involved tossing quartered Pillsbury pop-and-bake biscuit dough in butter, Parmesan, and herbs and then baking them in a pie pan. It's a recipe from a charity fundraising cookbook written in the 1970s that my mom gave me. 

I've actually used the combination of herbs, butter, and cheese in homemade pull-apart bread because the flavors are so delicious. 

White whole wheat rolls in the baking pan.

Don't get me wrong. Those Pillbury rolls tossed in butter, herbs, and Parmesan are really good. You can pop them in the oven ten minutes before serving dinner for 35 people, pour them into your bread basket, and watch them disappear. 

However, once I started baking my own bread, the pressure was on. Will I be judged for making the Pillsbury biscuits drenched in butter, cheese, and herbs? How do I time the dough to be ready when I take the turkey out of the oven? What about the sides? Oh, the pressure!!! I'm supposed to be an expert at this!!

Make-ahead dinner rolls stacked on a plate.

Fortunately, my friend Donna of the blog Cookistry, from whom I've derived so much bread inspiration, wrote an amazing cookbook, Make Ahead Bread: 100 Recipes for Melt-in-Your-Mouth Fresh Bread Every Day

The book is full of breads that can be mixed up the day before, refrigerated, and baked on the second day. The recipes include loaves, rolls, breadsticks, and flatbreads. Donna also has some amazing recipes for butters and spreads.

Dinner rolls in a basket with a plated roll in front.

How to make Make-Ahead Holiday Dinner Rolls:

On day one, mix together all of the dough ingredients, including the yeast, two flours, water, salt, honey, and olive oil. You can knead it by hand or by stand mixer. 

Next, let the dough rise until it has doubled, about an hour. 

After that, shape the dough into 12 rolls and place them into a 9-inch by 13-inch cake pan or quarter sheet pan, and cover with oiled plastic wrap. Immediately place the pan in the refrigerator. the rolls will rise over a long period of time and develop flavor. 

Finally, when you are ready to bake the rolls, brush them with an egg wash, sprinkle them with poppy seeds, and bake them in a 350 degree F oven until browned. You can served these rolls immediately.

Yes, these rolls can be baked straight out of the refrigerator while the roast or turkey is resting! They offer whole grain goodness from white whole wheat (a whole grain with a milder flavor), yet are still fluffy and light. They were a big hit with my family.

Make-ahead dinner rolls sliced in half.

What is white whole wheat flour?

White whole wheat flour is an actual whole wheat flour, but from a different grain variety than typical whole wheat flour. It's lighter in color and milder in flavor than the whole wheat flour you might be used to. 

You can substitute it one-for-one for any whole wheat flour called for in a recipe. You can also replace up to about half of the white wheat flour in a recipe. You might have to add more water and let the dough or batter rest so that the bran can soften as it absorbs the water. 

Use it in breads, muffins, pancakes, waffles, cookies, and even pie crusts! 

You will love these rolls! If there are any leftover after your holiday dinner, just split them and make turkey or roast beef sandwiches! 

Make-ahead dinner rolls used for a sandwich.

This week, the From Our Dinner Table Group is sharing make-ahead holiday dishes. To relieve the stress of preparing holiday dinners, we all could use as many make-ahead recipes as possible! I can't wait to check out everyone's recipes. 

Make Ahead Holiday Meals

We share Recipes From Our Dinner Table! Join our group and share your recipes, too! While you're at it, join our Pinterest board, too!

From our dinner table logo.

This is an updated post, originally published in May, 2015. I've remade the recipe, taken new photos, spiffed up the post, and provided a printable recipe card. I hope you give these amazing rolls a try! 

Dinner rolls on individual plates.

Make-Ahead White Whole Wheat Poppyseed Buns

Make-Ahead White Whole Wheat Poppyseed Buns
Yield: 12 rolls
Author: Karen's Kitchen Stories
Prep time: 30 MinCook time: 30 MinInactive time: 10 HourTotal time: 11 Hour
These white whole wheat poppyseed buns are the perfect dinner roll to grace your holiday table.


  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 6 3/4 ounces (1 1/2 cups) white whole wheat flour
  • 9 ounces (2 cups) bread flour
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon of water and a pinch of salt
  • 1/3 cup poppy seeds


  1. Combine the water, yeast, flours, honey, salt, and olive oil in the bowl of a stand mixer for about 7 minutes, until the dough comes together and is elastic.
  2. Place the dough into an oiled bowl or dough rising bucket, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled, about an hour.
  3. Spray a 9 inch by 13 inch pan with spray oil.
  4. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces, and form them into balls. Place the balls in the pan, three across and four down.
  5. Cover the dough with oiled plastic wrap, and refrigerate the pan overnight.
  6. On baking day, remove the pan from the refrigerator, and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  7. Brush the rolls with the egg wash and sprinkle them with the poppy seeds.
  8. Bake for about 35 minutes, until the buns reach an internal temperature of 205 degrees F.
  9. Cool on a rack until ready to serve.

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  1. They look so lovely. I need some butter now....

  2. Karen, why are you doing this to me? I don t need another cookbook, particularly not another bread book, but I know I will click on a link..... and..... (sigh)

    1. The cookbook is really small =), and Donna is a wonderful person... =)

    2. I ordered..... not even in Kindle version, since I like bread cookbooks to be in real paper.

      I don't have very strong will power when it comes to certain temptations.... ;-)

  3. I'm always up for a new bread book! Thanks for the recommendation (and drool-worthy pictures)!

    1. Can't have too many bread books, right? Thanks for the visit!

  4. Love this recipe. It's delicious and so perfect to use for little sandwiches too. YUM!

  5. These would be so perfect for our Thanksgiving dinner and to serve turkey sandwiches the next day!

  6. These look like they have the PERFECT interior!

  7. I just love fresh homemade rolls right from the oven. This recipe is perfect for the Holidays because I can make them the day ahead and just bake before everyone arrives!

  8. Love fresh rolls and these rolls are amazing! Would love to have them with butter. Also, wan to check out the book too.


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